Today we are honoring all the high school and college graduates. I would like them all to stand up.
Now that you are graduating from high school and college, how do you expect your life to change?
A little bit later today at the WMU gymnasium there will be a commencement exercise for the high school graduates. The word commencement in Webster’s Dictionary is defined as a beginning or a start.
As graduates you are beginning a new phase, a new chapter in the book of your life.
Father we ask for Your anointing on us today. Place Your anointing on me as Your messenger today.
Open our eyes so that we may see Your Word. Open our ears so that we may hear Your Word. Open our minds so that we may understand Your Word. Open our hearts so that we may receive Your Word today.
The last two times I have spoken to you I have used the following statistics. I am compelled to use it again today not because the third time is the charm but rather because it is so important for us to understand that we could be looking at the last Christian generation.
48% of my grandparent’s generation was Bible believing Christians
35% my parent’s generation (Baby Boomers) are Bible believing Christians
17% my generation (23-40) is Bible believing Christians
4% my 3 daughter’s generation (those born after 1984) will be Bible believing Christians.
There are differences between these generations that we have not yet discussed.
Scholars and Educators have identified seven generations that currently live in the world today.
First there is the Cyber Generation. These are the young people who were born or will be born from 2002 to 2025.
Then there are the Millennials also known as Net-Gen or as Gen Y they are the one born from 1982-2001.
This generation is a civic generation that is inner driven within the information revolution. Most of this generation’s main goal or desire is to get ahead in life and be more successful than those who lived before them. Their population is estimated at 78 million.
Then we have Generation X or the Baby Busters. This is going to make my wife happy because I used to tease her that I was a Gen. X and she was a Baby Boomer, but I have since changed my opinion. Gen Xers were born from 1960-1981. We are a reactive generation; we react to what is happening in society and in the world. Our population is 44 million.
Then there is the Baby Boomers generation, those born from 1943-1960. You are an idealist generation but many in your generation is often stressed out. Your population is 100 million. Typical boomers include Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Cher.
Next there is the Silent Generation, those born between 1925-1942. 95% of this generation is retired. They are an adaptive generation because they have had to be. This generation includes beats and beatniks.
After that there is the G.I. Generation, those born between 1901-1924.
And lastly there is the Lost Generation, those born between 1883-1900. Many of this generation fought and died in World War 1 and today there are only a handful of these people alive.
The teenagers who are graduating today are a part of the Millennial generation.
I want you to notice that there are some marked differences between this generation and those previous generations.
Millennials have been growing up with technology. In our world today we have greeting cards that play happy birthday that contain more computing power than existed in the world before 1950. Most video game consoles have more computing power than the Cray supercomputer, the most powerful computer in the world in 1976, limited in use to the most brilliant minds and most important problems.
Role Models are different today. The icons of this generation are markedly different than those of previous generations because their popularity is based on their style rather than their accomplishments.
Family Stability is different. A huge percentage of this generation is being raised in homes affected by divorce, single parents, and multiple “blended” stepfamilies.
Most of the parents of the Millennials are Gen X-ers. The Millennial generation has a desire to return to a stabile family life.
The Community is different. The Baby boomers were very family and community oriented and still are today.
The Gen X generation was about individuality.
Spirituality. 35% of the baby boomers considered themselves to be evangelical.
And if current trends continue, only 4% of the Cyber generation will be actively evangelical.
Even the Church is different today. Obviously, traditional church structures are not working and are not reaching this Millennial generation
There is a documented move by this generation toward a revival of the spirit, a re-building of the church around spiritual revival. This is actually a three-generation movement that is Boomer led, Gen Y fueled, but the church of the new millennium will be implemented by the Millennial generation.
One author stated, ”If the generational cycle prevails, we will enter some kind of crisis between 2015 and 2025. In 2015 the oldest [American] Millennial will be thirty-three, and the youngest around eleven.
Like the G.I Generation before them, they will be at just the right age to fill the ranks necessary to defeat the rising threat of losing the battle of souls in the world.
The only question that I have is will this generation be willing to take the role they need to take in order to turn the tide and make things right again?
Josh McDowel, in his latest book, “The Last Christian Generation writes about this problem and about the Millennial generation.
He states: 63% do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
58% believe that all faiths teach equally valid truths.
51% do not believe that Jesus rose from the dead.
65% do not believe that Satan is real.
68% do not believe that the Holy Spirit is real.
McDowel goes on in his book to say, “Our kids are departing from the faith of their fathers and mothers. They are believing some different things than you or me. Much of what they believe about Christianity, truth, reality and the church comes from a distorted view they have gleaned from the world around them.
What is happening is that version of Christianity that they believe in is not built on the true foundation of what Biblical Christianity is all about.
He goes on to state that when we move away from Biblical Christianity our view of truth becomes distorted and how we view others, ourselves, and God is affected.
Research statistics show that when young people lack a basic Biblical belief system their attitudes and behaviors change.
225% are more likely to be angry with life.
210% are more likely to lack purpose in life.
200% are more likely to steal.
200% are more likely to hurt someone.
300% are more likely to use illegal drugs.
600% are more likely to attempt suicide.
These statistics come from the Barna Research Group, one of the most trusted research groups in the world.
I am startled by these stats. Aren’t you?
What they tell me is that when a child lacks a Godly foundation in their life they are 2 times, 3 times, even 6 times more likely to be involved in behavior that is not Christ like.
This study also went on to show that there is only a 4% difference between teenagers who regularly attend church and those who don’t in the area of attitude and behavior.
This is scary because the crisis is real. We have a huge problem. What can we do about it?
As parents, grandparents, guardians, or teachers, what can we do to turn the tide of losing a generation?
And what about you Millennials, what can you do to turn your own hearts and the hearts of your peers back to a loving God?
Does anyone have any ideas?
Let me submit to you my plan. Well it is not really my plan; it is really God’s plan.
The plan for parents and grandparents and teachers and guardians is found in the following Scriptures.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
Deuteronomy 11:1, 16, 18-21 “Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws, and his commands always…Be careful or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them… Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give to your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.”
George Barna writes, “Nothing is more numbing to the Church than the fact that it is mired in a rut of seemingly unfathomable depths. The various creative approaches attempted over the course of this decade have drawn much attention but produced little, if any transformational impact… although many people attend church, few Americans are committed to being the Church.”
Friends we need to get back to the basics of Christianity and back to the basics of serving God.
We need a resurgence of teaching a Christ centered, God focused message in our homes and in our churches that is real and relevant to us and to our youth.
This is the responsibility of every Christian adult who makes a decision to have children; it is the responsibility of every Christian teacher who teaches; and it is the responsibility of every pastor who answers the call of God to preach.
What about the youth? Do they have a responsibility?
Yes, they have the same responsibility that we all have.
Each of us need to have a spiritual revolution. Every one of us need a passionate embracing of the Christian faith for what it is.
What is it? It is a vibrant relationship with the real and living person of Jesus Christ that is to be lived out with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.
It is not about what religion you are. It is against my relationship to have a religion. That is what the Christian faith is about, it is about a relationship with God through Jesus.
The Apostle Paul said that when a person has a real encounter with the true God, that relationship will transform him or her into a new creation.
“Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Each of us need to embrace God in a new way and allow Him to make us new creations. Let’s embrace our responsibility to see a spiritual revolution take place in all of our lives.